Here is the video of an interesting archaeological discovery on the island of Chapelle Dom Hue near Guernsey. Earlier this week Phil de Jersey, working for Guernsey Archaeology, posted news of finding the skull of a juvenile porpoise in the graveyard of a small monastic site.
The porpoise is believed to date from the fourteenth-century, and de Jersey adds that it looks to have been buried deliberately, based on the way the grave was cut.
He tells the Guernsey Press, “That is what puzzles me. If they had eaten it or killed it for the blubber, why take the trouble to bury it?”
In another interview with The Guardian, he suggests one possibility deals with religious observation: “The dolphin has a strong significance in Christianity but I’ve not come across anything like this before. It’s the slightly wacky kind of thing that you might get in the iron age but not in medieval times.”
That there is the grave of Saint Swimmins of Saint Swimmins Day fame.
Joseph Zowghi says
Yes. In medieval times, they went all-out with the wacky.
When I was a child and my sister an even younger child, a squirrel crawled up on our front porch and died. My sister absolutely insisted that it be given a proper burial, so Dad dutifully got out the shovel, dug a whole in the yard, and buried it with as much solemnity as he could manage. (Shh, nobody tell Iris Pluym or my sister will get on The List!)
I can imagine some archaeologist digging up our yard, discovering this burial and pondering what cultural significance squirrels had to late 20th century citizens of the US. Mysteries abound! Were we some kind of unusual squirrel cult?
I can just see some medieval child seeing the beautiful animal washed ashore and wanting to give it the respect of a “proper” burial, and his father dutifully getting out the shovel.
As the mildly deranged pengion previously recalls, that’s probably the band’s hurdy-gurdy player searching for the last of the beer.
Suttkus @ 3:
Chapelle Dom Hue was the site of a medieval monastery, no fathers and children.
Most of the time. Always? There were no visiting fisherman, no shipwrecks, no desperate father with an ill child seeking help, no religious or other festivals?
I concur the suggested scenario in @3 seems very unlikely, and that any children at any time on the island in those days would be probably be very rare. Previously (see the link in @4) I speculated a similar scenario, albeit with a monk who took pity on a beached dying / dead creature.
There seems to be something of an assumption that archaeologists are rather stupid, and don’t know their business. It would help if you all watched the video and read the linked articles.
There was speculation as to forgotten food storage, or the possibility of a monk seizing an illicit food source for himself alone. It was a fucking monastery, not a home for happy families. Also, in medieval times, people couldn’t afford to be quite so awfully sentimental as we are now, and generally speaking, weren’t. A dolphin would have been a source of food, fuel, and material.